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2023 Opponent Outlook: Why We Will Beat Minnesota

MSU should start its season 7-0

Halloween weekend brings MSU and its 7-0 record to the Twin Cities for a matchup against Minnesota. On the subject of putting on a costume, let’s get straight to some history on the mascot of this opponent. Minnesota earned the nickname the Gopher State when a famous political cartoon from the 1850s portrayed local railroad barons as gophers. Eventually, the university’s team name became the Gophers. In 1934, the football coach, Bernie Bierman, had the uniforms changed to a gold color so that the football would blend into it (I guess footballs were gold back then?). In other words, the coach wanted to rely on optical illusions and trickery to beat their opponents. Apparently it worked because Coach Bierman won five national championships while coaching the team now known as the Golden Gophers. Maybe this was the origin of the trick play.

Let’s fast forward close to 90 years and we have seen trick plays in college football evolve into a frequent occurrence and something that can help define coaching careers (i.e. Little Giants). In his second year coaching the Spartans, we saw Coach Tucker’s offense regularly resort to the Thorne-to-Walker-to Thorne-to-wide-open-WR flea-flicker for great results. So I say this game, the 49th all-time meeting between MSU and Minnesota on the gridiron, will be jam-packed with trickeration, and I was inspired to write a little poem about it.

We will see flea-flickers and halfback passes;

We will see double reverses and quarterback catches.

There will be fake punts and onside kicks;

Buckle up everyone, we will see all the tricks.

Okay, maybe I’m not Shel Silverstein or Dr. Seuss, but the point remains. Mel Tucker is going to remember something from the 2021 season. After defeating um to preserve their perfect record, MSU went down to Purdue and was absolutely devoid of energy in losing for the first time that season. Wary of experiencing deja vu, Tucker and his coordinators demise several trick plays to keep the players’ intensity levels up. And it works! The Spartans move their record to 8-0 as they head into the final third of the season. And with that victory, all the students back in East Lansing are going to have an even better Halloween weekend.

7 days till the opener. Enjoy your last weekend without Spartan Football.